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Local lawmaker seeks to close campaign literature disclosure law loophole

A local lawmaker wants to close a loophole about campaign literature.  Deputy House Speaker Bob Godfrey of Danbury testified Wednesday before a legislative committee about his bill requiring the disclosure of altered photos.  Godfrey hopes that holding candidates and their campaigns accountable will discourage what he called "uncivil and underhanded behavior" seen in November.  No other state has adopted legislation similar to Godfey’s proposal, but 17 states have statutes providing criminal or civil penalties for false advertising. 

He was inspired in part by a mailer with the faces of then-Ridgefield Senate candidate Will Haskell and former Governor Malloy photoshopped onto a stock photo of two men, implying that Malloy endorsed the 22-year old and that they were acquainted. 

Godfrey wants digitally manipulated disclosures added to legislation, similar to the "paid for by" tags.  Committee members want to explore taking the proposal further because artificial intelligence is advancing to the point where someone could be superimpose into a video to create a false narrative.

As for how it would fit in the current disclosure laws, a line can be included that says what has been done to the image, such as cleaning up the background or cropping the photo.  Godfrey says it doesn't need to be a one-size fits all language.

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